March 16, 2012
Columbia, Mo. - The Missouri Tigers (11-5) increased their winning streak to 10 games with a dramatic 8-7 win over High Point Friday night (March 16) at Taylor Stadium. Ben Turner was the hero of the night, though, with his walkoff single in the ninth inning that scored Blake Brown from second base. Turner's single was the first walkoff win for the Tigers since Eric Garcia's against Oklahoma State in last year's Big 12 tournament.
Rob Zastrysny got a no decision after throwing 5.2 innings, giving up nine hits with six runs, four earned, and striking out five batters. Closer Jake Walsh got his first win of the year after his first blown save in seven opportunities.
Zastrysny opened the game with a strikeout, setting the tone for a perfect 1-2-3 inning. Brannon Champagne's infield single was the only hit of the bottom of the frame, and the Tigers went on scoreless to the second. After a High Point single, Gavin Stark made a terrific defensive play, gathering the bunt and diving to seal the out on a sacrifice bunt. Zastrysny froze the next batter on a curve for a strikeout, then a groundout ended the inning. Scott Sommerfeld's two-out RBI double scored Ben Turner from first to give Mizzou a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. High Point threatened with bases loaded and one out in the third, and a two-out single pushed two across to take a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the third. Champagne led off with a walk, then Eric Garcia notched an infield single. Conner Mach's bunt single loaded the bases for Dane Opel, who doubled down the right field line to clear the bases and take a 4-2 lead. Mizzou tacked on one more run to take a 5-2 lead into the fourth inning.
The Tigers held High Point scoreless in the top of the fourth, and then Mach registered the only hit in the bottom of the inning. A one-out double for High Point set the stage for the Panthers to score on the ensuing single to cut the Tigers' lead to 5-3. A gap shot double to right center scored the runner from second, and made the score 5-4 with one out, but the Tigers were able to stop the High Point rally at two runs. Blake Brown led off the bottom of the frame with a single, then swiped second on the next pitch and advanced to third on an error. Sommerfeld's single to center scored Brown to give Mizzou a 6-4 lead. After Sommerfeld stole second, an error put runners on the corners with two outs for Champagne. Dillon Everett perfectly executed the choke play at first, purposely getting into a rundown and supplying Sommerfeld enough time to score from third before being tagged out. As the result of Everett's great baserunning, Mizzou took a 7-4 lead to the sixth inning.
In the sixth, High Point was able to cut into the Tiger lead with a two-out, two-RBI double to make the score 7-6. Dusty Ross entered the game to pitch after the double, and forced a groundout by the first batter he faced. Garcia came through with the Tigers' only hit in a scoreless sixth, and the game went on to the seventh with Mizzou leading 7-6.
Ross again held High Point off the board in the seventh, then Sommerfeld notched a one-out double in the bottom of the inning, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Turner walked to put runners on the corners for Stark, whose sacrifice bunt moved Turner up to second, but both runners were stranded. The Tigers remained tight defensively in the eighth, again holding High Point off the board after Jake Walsh came in with two outs and runners on first and second.
High point started off the ninth inning with a home run to tie the game at seven, meaning Walsh's first blown save in seven attempts. After a single followed the home run, Walsh made a spectacular play diving to catch a sacrifice bunt attempt that was popped up down the first base line, and the Panthers were held off the board the rest of the inning. Brown and Sommerfeld walked with one out in the ninth, then Turner laced a single to left, scoring Brown for the winning run, a final score of 8-7.
The Tigers and Panthers meet up tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the second game of a three-game set. Keep up to date with Tigers baseball on the team twitter page (@MUTigerBaseball) or on MUTigers.com.
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